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Desmond Seeing More and More Time in Center

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 31: Ian Desmond #20 of the Washington Nationals bats in a run against the St. Louis Cardinals in the sixth inning at Busch Stadium on August 31, 2015 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    So, you've got a career shortstop you've signed to be your everyday left fielder, and you're not playing him every day in left field in spring training. What on Earth could be the reasoning behind that?

    Desmond made his debut in center field on Thursday night in a Cactus League loss to the Brewers, and he played there again over the weekend with plans to play in center even more this coming week when he could be adding to his crash coursework in left before the season begins in a couple of weeks.

    Desmond drew praise from Rangers manager Jeff Banister for his play in center, and the manager even hinted he'd be willing to play Desmond in center in the regular season if Delino DeShields needs a day off. But what else could it mean?

    Could it mean the Rangers aren't positive DeShields is an everyday center fielder? He was great last year at the plate but had severe deficiencies in the field as a converted second baseman. That's the least likely of all scenarios, but there's something to be said there.

    It could also mean Josh Hamilton might indeed be ready to play. If he's able to play by May 1, he could be in left field and Desmond in center when he plays (if he's red-hot at the plate), which wouldn't be every day.

    It could also show the Rangers' hand of wanting to open the season with an extra bullpen arm and a short bench of just three players instead of the typical four — an idea that has been tossed around as a serious consideration for the club without many off-days early in the year.

    Desmond's already versatile with his ability to play in the infield at an all-star level, and if he can feel comfortable in two outfield spots, it'd make it easier to go with that short bench and possibly even without a utility infielder who can't play the outfield such as Hanser Alberto.